Saturday, May 25, 2013

Jump Around

It’s been a good reading week. I did enjoy the Shanna Swendson 'Kiss and Spell as much as I thought I would. I read Shanna’s blog, so I kind of knew that she was playing with the constructs of romantic comedy movies with this one, but I am a full on sucker for both rom-com tropes and having them turned on their heads. It’s hard to give much of a summary without getting into spoiler territory, so I’ll just give it a thumbs up. It’s a romance book with all that implies. Character development is limited to exposition in the spaces left between the action scenes, so we don’t learn a ton about the inner workings of any single character. You know, though, it doesn’t all have to be Proust. It’s fun and quick and surprised me a couple of times. It sounds like this will be the last in the series and I’ll miss Katie’s world.

I polished off Jim Gaffigan’s 'Dad is Fat in about 24 hours. It’s just Jim Gaffigan, talking about his 5 kids and how to raise them in a 2 bedroom apartment in New York.. It’s a quick read and funny, but it’s not the deepest book around. There are a number of jokes so corny they require rim shots, but he could read a take-out menu and I’d laugh. I heard his voice in my head while I read and that made it book much, much funnier than it deserved to be.

I moved from Gaffigan to Lauren Graham’s book, 'Someday, Someday, Maybe, but I’m not hearing her voice in my head. For some reason, I’m listening to 'Sutton Foster tell me about being a struggling actress in New York. I figured I knew Graham’s voice well enough to plug her right in after that many years of 'Gilmore Girls, but I guess I can only hold one fast-talking Amy Palladino lady in my head. I’m distracting myself with the inner narration, though, since Franny in Someday, Someday, Maybe is supposed to be in her early 20’s and I’m picturing a world-weary 40 year old telling the tale. Here’s the thing - Lauren Graham wrote a book, y’all. I don’t know why that stuns me, but I’m as proud of her as if I knew her. I might not even tell you guys if I don’t like it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Witchy Woman

Just in case you weren’t aware that Shanna Swendson’s  Kiss and Spell (Enchanted, Inc.)'>Kiss and Spell is newly available. I love this Katie Chandler series and it has nothing to do with Shanna’s hometown being very near mine, or that she was extremely nice when I met her one time, or that the heroine’s name is Katie. All that is bonus, but the books stand alone.

Katie Chandler moves to New York and can see all kinds of strange creatures that no one else seems to notice. It turns out that she’s immune to magic, so she can see through illusions to what’s really going on in the city – a battle between good magic and dark. With that said, the books are well-written, fun romantic comedy. I don’t care particularly about magic, but this isn’t witches and demons battling for dominance. These books are sturdy. The heroine is practical and the dashing hero works too hard and has a serious case of social anxiety.

I’m noticing as I write this that a lot of the books I love are what I’m now thinking of as sturdy. The heroines would never faint, the hero may be handsome, but he’s not ever going to be dashing. I guess I like my romance to be sensible and funny, the way it should be in real life.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hot Blooded

Missed you all dearly, blah, blah. I just finished Warm Bodies a couple of days ago and was glad I had watched the Warm Bodies movie before I read the book. I don’t think it’s giving anything away to say that R is a zombie who meets a girl, falls in love, and changes back to human. It was a surprisingly sweet romantic comedy, much sweeter than one would think a movie about a zombie and girl could be. I loved the movie and immediately put the book on my to-read list.

I usually hate the movie adaptations of books I like, with Maeve Binchey’s Circle of Friends being the low point and maybe Colin Firth’s version of Pride & Prejudice being the best possible outcome. Warm Bodies lost the depth of the book, of course, with so much of the action occurring as an internal dialogue, but the movie felt true to the spirit of the book.

I’m finding myself thinking more about the significance of the Boneys, elder zombies identified as monsters without thought in the movie but as leadership figures in the book. The Boneys serve almost as priests or tribal elders, performing rituals and maintaining order in the gathering of zombies. I can’t decide if they were simplified for the movie because it would require an amount of communication that isn’t possible, since R speaks only in voice-over for most of the movie, or if it just made more sense to have the R be the only zombie with both instinct and choice.

Anyway, read it & watch it. Both versions are well worth the time.